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Mercedes-Benz Heritage - Design Changes Through The Years

posted on Jun 24 2014 by Harvey Yates

Mercedes-Benz Heritage - Design Changes Through The Years

There is little doubt that Mercedes-Benz use their history in marketing. Given that they produced the acknowledged first passenger car, I suppose it is a no-brainer. The idea is that when you buy a Mercedes-Benz you buy into the historic ethos of the marque.

Their cars sport what has been found to be the most recognisable logo in the world, the three-pointed star in a circle.

As so many manufacturers did at the time, Mercedes-Benz opted for a unique design of grill to show corporate identity. Between the wars the distinctive grill was easily recognisable. It had a certain dignity. Immediately post war, the old models were revived.

Compact but certainly imposing

As the years went by there was little change:

Separate wings and running boards disappeared and Mercedes-Benz moved into the luxury end of the market, with cautious steps at first. The overall design was intended to provide a quality alternative for Americans during an era of crude domestic excess. And succeeding of course. However, you had to feel a little sympathetic to the corporate design studio when the board suggested they wanted the grill to stay.

Evolution rather than revolution

Then came the iconic double-headlamp models, opting for one over the other rather than the industry standard side-by-side. It came in for some initial criticism, on both sides of the Atlantic, but it sold well, despite the purported loss of dignity.

There was no suggestion it didn’t make its presence felt

America as interpreted by Germany

Then came the definitive front end, the one which was changed in size and proportion over the whole range of saloons. It became the one everyone thought of when Mercedes-Benz cars were mentioned.

From the 190 to the S-Class, the overall design was the same

But change always comes and when it did, the moans started. Despite it being considerably more aerodynamic, an essential given the desire of buyers for lower consumption figures, it was, it would appear, impossible to please everyone.

The new grill was not well received

Mercedes-Benz listened to the complaints of lack of history and opted for the current grill across the range.

As can be seen, history has played a big part in the design, from the heroic 300SLR:

To the current SLS:

Tradition is all. Be confident behind that grill.

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